Anytime you are involved in a car accident with another person or person’s property, you should notify the authorities so that they can create a police report. Police reports can contain vital information pertaining to your case, and the information may prove useful to you over the course of your personal injury case.
Obtain All Records Pertaining to Your Car Accident
One of the first steps to take after you’ve been in a car accident is to request copies of all relevant records, especially if you were injured in the accident. This includes medical records, your expenses relating to your accident and injuries and the police report. You can obtain your police report by calling the police department directly, or you may be able to request a copy online.
Police Reports Contain Important Information
Even though you are not able to use the actual police report if your case goes to court, the report should still contain important information that may be able to help you. The report should include specific details such as the date and time of your accident, what the weather was like, the names of the other people involved in the accident, the names of any witnesses and any other information about the circumstances of the car accident.
You can use the police report to double check that it matches your memory of what happened at the scene of the accident. And while the report itself is inadmissible in court, you may be able to call upon the witnesses listed in the report to testify at your trial or deposition.
You Can Use Police Reports in Settlement Negotiations
When you’re preparing for your settlement negotiations, you’ll need to gather all of the relevant documents mentioned previously, including the police report. Use the information in these documents to draft a demand letter before you file your personal injury lawsuit. The letter should detail all of your injuries resulting from the accident, summarize the circumstances and facts surrounding your case and demand injury compensation.
But You Can’t Use Them in Court
As we’ve mentioned, police reports are not a form of admissible evidence in court. That’s because police reports are considered “hearsay.” Aside from particular circumstances, hearsay is inadmissible in court because it is a statement made outside of the courtroom, a statement given by someone lacking direct knowledge of the incident, an unsworn statement or a statement that describes an action or statement of another person.
Generally, police officers are not present at the time of an accident, so their reports consist of statements made by other people. Because police reports detail the police officer’s account of the accident based on their interviews and after-the-fact observations, courts do not allow them to be used as evidence.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for Legal Assistance
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact a local Chattanooga, TN car accident lawyer to help you with your case. Our team of experienced professionals at McMahan Law Firm is proud to represent you and fight for the compensation you deserve.